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Willie Nelson Receives Standing Ovation in 1st Performance Since Latest Health Scare

Willie Nelson Receives Standing Ovation in 1st Performance Since Canceling Shows on Doctor s Orders 337
Willie Nelson. SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images

Fireworks shows are cool, but seeing Willie Nelson’s return to the stage on Independence Day may be priceless.

On Thursday, July 4, the country music legend made an appearance at his annual 4th of July Picnic event at Freedom Mortgage Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey, after health concerns forced him to temporarily step away from touring.

According to videos posted via social media, Nelson, 91, immediately received a standing ovation when he walked on stage in dark denim jeans, a cowboy hat and a black T-shirt with the word “legalize” printed on top.

“He’s bbaaacccckkkkk,” Nelson wrote via Instagram on Thursday with footage of the crowd visibly excited to see the Grammy winner again.

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Nelson proceeded to take a seat on a stool and began playing several hits, including “On the Road Again,” “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground.”

As an added treat for concertgoers, Nelson performed his new song “The Border” for the first time live.

In the past two weeks, Nelson has missed several appearances at the traveling Outlaw Music Festival due to “doctor’s orders.” (The tour features an unprecedented lineup including headliners Willie Nelson & Family, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss and more artists.)

“We regret to inform you that Willie Nelson is not feeling well and, per doctor’s orders, has been advised to rest for the next four days,” Nelson’s team shared via X on June 21. “In the meantime, [Willie’s son] Lukas Nelson and the Family Band will perform a special set to include Willie’s classics and other songs.”

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This isn’t the first time Nelson has experienced a health scare. He nearly canceled a 2019 tour due to a “breathing problem.” The shows, however, were merely postponed to later in the year after Nelson assured fans he was “resting and getting better.”

When asked to share the secret to his longevity, the artist said it all begins with a positive attitude.

“I appreciate everything I get and I’ve been lucky,” he told Forbes in April 2023. “I’m a little bit amazed that I’m first of all still here, [And] I’m having a good time. I’m enjoying the singing, I think it’s good for me. People come up, right away, pay some money to come hear me or somebody sing, and it’s a great energy exchange out there and I look forward to it every time.”

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